BESG was established in 1983 by senior staff of the then University of Natal Department of Architecture and Allied Disciplines, as a support group that defended communities against eviction from informal settlements in urban areas, largely as a result of inter-political party violence. In the early 1990’s, BESG became a key player in shaping planning and housing policies from local to national level. Since 1995, BESG has been a leader in enabling poor communities to access land, basic services, housing and administrative justice.
BESG was registered as a Not-for-Profit Section 21 company in 1999. It is a registered Non-Profit and Public benefit Organisation. In 2009, it established a separate Section 21 company, BESG Development Services, to manage its trading (non-donor funded) activities.
BESG is managed by a Board of 7 members who volunteer their skills in development, human resources, adult education, and community development to provide strategic guidance and administrative and financial oversight to the staff. BESG currently has 7 staff, with a similar range of skills.
BESG is based in Pietermaritzburg, the capital of KwaZulu-Natal. This makes it well positioned to serve the two main centres of Msunduzi and eThekwini, and the various smaller towns and rural areas in the KZN Midlands
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